A Critical Look at Oracles Revenue Call

Oracle's getting cute with the RAC sales numbers, writes Database Center Site Editor Lisa Vaas. She looks beyond officials' commentary on the company's latest fiscal statements.

Oracles Larry Ellison had good reason to preen over Oracles red-blooded, healthy-as-a-horse financial statement, announced Thursday. Net income for the quarter was up 11 percent over year-ago figures, third-quarter revenues jumped 9 percent, and software license sales were up 12 percent.

Ellison points to the companys milestone database upgrade, Oracle Database 10g, as being the engine behind this robust growth. For once, hes not just blowing smoke. Financial outfits such as Bear Stearns are citing 10g as providing a "compelling competitive advantage" over database software from rivals IBM and Microsoft. Its a competitive advantage that should persist for years, they say, and one that means Oracle is well on its way to solidifying its position as the No. 1 vendor in the RDBMS market.

And make no mistake about it—Oracles position at the top of the hill in the $13 billion world database market, according to IDCs 2002 figures, has been wobbly as of late.

/zimages/6/28571.gifClick here to read about Oracles slipping market lead.

IDC in March 2003 reported that the gap between Oracle and IBM had narrowed in 2002, slipping to 39.4 percent, or 5 percent less than its 2001 share. IBM showed up strong, pulling up to 33.6 percent market share, but Microsoft has been the real dark horse. Microsoft, though it had only 11.1 percent of the market, saw its share jump 15 percent in a year.

Next page: Oracles price war on Microsoft